Aircraft will be inducted into IAF next year

The C-17 globe master-III military transport aircraft, scheduled to be inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2013, will be used primarily to airlift the country’s special forces in the event of Mumbai-type terrorist attacks, hijacks, and other national emergencies, Air Marshal S.P. Singh, the outgoing Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Air Command, has said.

Interacting with mediapersons after handing over the charge to his successor Air Marshal R.K. Jolly here on Tuesday, Mr. Singh said the aircraft’s capability to operate from small and rugged airstrips and in all-weather and light conditions made it ideal for speedy ‘tactical airlift’ of troops and airdrop missions.

One squadron

The IAF would initially acquire one squadron of C-17s. It would add six more squadrons of C-130 Hercules turbo-prop driven military transport aircraft to its stable.

The SAC hoped to have the operational command of at least a few squadrons of the to-be-acquired medium multi-role combat aircraft, the French-built Dassault Rafael.

Soon one squadron of the Sukhoi 30 MKI air superiority fighter, produced by Russia and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, would be based at the SAC’s airbase at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The IAF’s capability to project its power in the Indian Ocean region would grow exponentially with the commissioning of more airfields and deployment of long- and medium-range radar systems, air defence systems, unmanned aerial vehicles with maritime surveillance capabilities, Airborne Warning and Control Systems, and mid-air refuelling tankers in the country’s southern peninsula.

The officers of the IAF station here accorded a guard of honour and the ceremonial farewell, ‘Jaikar,’ to the Air Marshal.

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